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In the modernized supply chain, value should outweigh cost. Although cheaper modernization routes can initially diminish expenses, inadequate solutions usually end up being more costly than their expensive counterparts. In no place is this more accurate than inventory labeling. Cheaper enterprise labels can save operations a great deal of money at face value, yet they also impact:

  • Scan speed – If operators take more than 5 seconds per order, they can spend over 3 hours per day scanning barcodes. Fading and peeling labels increase scan time since employees must rescan, increasing wait time and risks of delays.
  • Printing speed – Quality labels with smooth surfaces tend to leave less build-up on the printhead, mitigating future jams and slow printing speeds. On the flipside, poorly made labels often sport a sandpaper-like surface and tightly wound rolls that slow down printing speeds with more leftover debris.
  • Printer performance – Not only do sandpaper-like printers slow production, they can also directly contribute to premature printhead failure, resulting in downtime averaging $10,000 lost per hour.
  • Media loading time – Labels rolled outwardly create slack, which impacts printer performance if not installed correctly. As labels require more time to be properly installed, they take away from assembly time, further contributing to inefficient workflows.
  • Order accuracy – Incorrect shipments are the second most cited reason customers return products, adding to the increasing return costs that already surpass $350 billion since 2017 in the U.S. alone.
  • Inventory tracking – When inventory isn’t accurately accounted for, warehouses risk out-of-stocks, which drive customers to seek services elsewhere. Inaccurate inventory counts also lead to overstocking, which has led many retailers to markdown over 70% of their products.

Whether in the warehouse or in the storefront, inferior printing supplies dramatically impact productivity and profitability. To prevent these issues and more, Avalon recommends feeding your printer quality consumables such as Zebra’s Certified Printing Supplies.

How Zebra’s Certified Supplies Eliminate the Costs of Inferior Enterprise Labels

Developed to secure maximum uptime, Zebra’s certified consumables are subjected to a stringent 23-point inspection to certify dependable performance in a myriad of application and storage environments. As a result, every label is built to…

  • Secure printhead performance with smooth surface that prevents printhead scratches and adhesive build-up.
  • Survive in extreme environments such as high heat, condensation, and cold storage without peeling or fading, ultimately reducing the need for rescans.
  • Easily fit into your printer with loading complications for minimized wait times.
  • Meet compliance requirements to ensure your inventory moves smoothly from the warehouse to the retail shelf to the checkout lane.

Contact Avalon’s labeling experts today to discover a Zebra label that best matches your application and storage requirements to see how you can integrate the best value into your operations for the best return of investment.

 

 

Given the constant waves of changes gripping supply chains across the nation, Avalon Integration has continuously researched and studied inventory management optimization to help clients best prepare for changes. A lot goes into creating a dependable system, yet without it, businesses run the risk of:

  • Out-of-stock fees
  • Overworked employees
  • Higher production fees
  • Increased carrying costs and travel times
  • Negative brand identity 
  • Missed sales

Consequently, we called the experts to help pinpoint some of the crucial components to consider when developing a modernized inventory management system.

What to expect from a modernized inventory management system:

As previously stated, because every business is unique, there is no one-size-fits-all inventory management solution available. However, it’s safe to assume that your system must aim at maximizing visibility, agility, and accuracy to remain competitive in today’s now-economy. While it’s impossible to categorize one component as the most important factor in your inventory management system, we can help you identify your system’s goals to better specify your system’s needs. Below are a few goals modernized inventory management systems should strive to achieve:

Modernized Inventory Management Systems

Goals your modernized inventory management systems should strive to achieve

  1. Expanding the availability of actionable insight – One of the top benefits of a modernized inventory management system is the actionable insight it can provide regarding purchase patterns and areas of optimization. Actionable insight can help you reduce costs, provide customer-centered service, and mitigate product loss/theft. Avalon can help expand insight availability with Zebra’s mobile computers, built to secure maximum connectivity, so your workforce can stay up to date on any supply chain changes when and where they occur.
  2. Optimizing storage for lower costs – If left unchecked, deadstock can begin to drain your budget in increased carrying costs and depreciated values. When seeking to lower storage costs, Avalon recommends boosting end-to-end visibility with real-time locationing services such as Zebra MotionWorks. Adaptable to change, real-time visibility allows you to monitor moving inventory, giving you an overview of hidden opportunities in the warehouse, in the yard, and anywhere else you need it.
  3. Accelerating order fulfillment without promoting inaccuracies – Late and inaccurate orders affect customer loyalty. With average order fulfillment times getting shorter, it’s no surprise more warehouses have made speed their goal. To reduce data entry time and shorten travel paths, RFID-powered solutions and tracking can save time by capturing multiple codes without a line of sight. By implementing readers at the loading dock, you can accelerate order verification before shipment, eliminating wasted time and labor.
  4. Facilitating customer tracking and order changes – According to Zebra’s 2020 Shopper Study, over 80% of retailers either provide or plan to provide mobile ordering by 2021. Because customers expect to be able to track their online orders, the visibility that connects to your customers becomes a vital necessity. To preserve identification, we recommend investing in durable labels and accurate scanners that work both in the warehouse and on the field. Zebra’s Certified Consumables still stand as your best option in protecting inventory identification due to their strong adhesives and surface coating.
  5. Maximizing worker performance without increasing training times – As more orders come in, your workforce must find a way to continue meeting deadlines while increasing pick rates. High labor turnover rates make this difficult as companies can spend as much as $7,000 in merely training expenses alone. If your goal is to simplify onboarding while increasing performance, simplicity becomes your crucial component since user-friendly systems can diminish the likelihood of human errors. Equipping your workforce with easy-to-learn technologies such as Android’s familiar OS can help lower training times by as much as 90% to make sure employees can access and navigate inventory management systems as early as possible.

Didn’t see your goal listed? Contact our specialists for a free evaluation of your enterprise objectives and see how you can tailor your inventory management system to meet goals and exceed expectations.

Compared to ten years ago, today’s warehouse operations are starkly different. Not only did 5,000 new warehouses appear in a span of 5 years, but e-commerce sales have skyrocketed over 300% way before the global health crisis. Thanks to globalization and the internet, the high demand for specific products and fast order fulfillment has revolutionized operations, leading to one of the biggest business trends helping and hindering operations: SKU proliferation. 

As companies adapt to cater to customer preferences, they create new product varieties, giving way to new SKU numbers to identify different types of the same kind of product. This is a natural progression for any growing business, yet without crucial visibility, SKU proliferation can lead to:

  • Increased carrying costs as you’ll need more shelf space and labor to accommodate more products
  • Increased manufacturing/production costs for slow-moving inventory
  • Added order cycle times since workers take more time to compile orders
  • Missed predictive analytics since collected data does not apply to larger segments of your operations

However, when done correctly, SKU proliferation sharpens your competitive advantage by allowing your business to fulfill a customer’s immediate and secondary needs. Therefore, Avalon Integration outlines three ways your distribution plan can leverage intelligent visibility solutions to best manage varying SKUs.

Bringing Insight to Where it’s Needed Most

When modernizing inventory management, Avalon suggests the following areas to start:

Analyze purchase patterns in conjunction with customer interactions

Zebra L10 Tablet to Analyze Purchase Patterns

Zebra’s L10 tablets provide ample screen space, processing power, and integrated scanning capabilities

Obviously, one of the most common causes of SKU proliferation is customer demand. For example, a shoe company selling back shoes may notice the sudden popularity of red shoes and decide to sell them as well. While this may be competitively smart, one must not forget to continue monitoring current stock performance. In our shoe example, that would mean managers would still need to accurately track the number of black shoes in stock, how often they sell, and where they’re located in addition to trends in demand.

To properly analyze stock performance without increasing cycle count times, Avalon recommends streamlining data capture and mobile computing to eliminate data entry. Mobile devices such as Zebra’s L10 tablets provide ample screen space, processing power, and integrated scanning capabilities to empower workers to manage data on the go, creating an undisrupted inventory management system.

Connect workers to real-time stock updates

MC3390R RFID Real-Time Stock Updates

Integrate real-time visibility with RFID tracking solutions

Customer preferences can change within a day, sometimes in a matter of minutes. Moreover, research shows that customers are more likely to abandon carts if they’re unable to fulfill 100% of their needs in one place. That means every decision your workforce takes matters.  To avoid wasting labor efforts, integrate real-time visibility with RFID tracking solutions, such as Zebra MotionWorks, to manage multiple inventory identifiers all once. Inventory counts and location can then be shared with your workforce via their mobile device to accelerate picking by guiding them to the correct location faster.

Protect communication channels across the whole supply chain

Zebra TC77 Touch Computer Communication

Zebra’s TC77 touch-computer for high-speed and long-range connectivity

Disruptive communication channels such as Blockchain Technology are already redefining the way supply chains communicate by allowing enterprises to monitor inventory before it reaches the receiving dock. That means connectivity has now become a driving factor in enhancing competitiveness since it also allows customers to track their orders, a benefit sought by 97% of online shoppers. While there are many ways to establish communication channels between teams, Avalon continues to prioritize streamlined productivity and flexibility by recommending Zebra’s TC77 touch-computer for high-speed and long-range connectivity that keeps field teams and warehouses connected while also providing mobile computing and data capture capabilities.

As a Zebra Premier Solutions’ Partner, Avalon Integration makes sure to connect you with durable enterprise-ready solutions. Contact us today to discover new ways you can get a better handle on SKU proliferation with solutions tailored to your workflow.

Your inventory management system plays a key role in maintaining an undisrupted supply chain. The more efficient your system is, the less complicated your workflows will be. With so many technological advancements available, there are many ways to enhance inventory management. However, building efficiency doesn’t have to depend solely on hardware. As leading providers of warehouse optimization solutions, Avalon Integration brings you five simple ways to start enhancing your inventory system and how you can implement them in your operations for maximized profitability at a lower TCO.

1. Set Threshold Values

Set Threshold Values

A quality inventory system should be able to establish minimum stock requirements to avoid surprise out-of-stocks

At the very minimum, a quality inventory system should be able to establish minimum stock requirements to avoid surprise out-of-stocks. A step ahead would be to monitor incoming and leaving stock to keep it from dropping below your set threshold. Furthermore, threshold levels can also be applied to your supplies to root out downtime before it happens.

2. Prepare for Triumphs and Trials

Zebra Motionworks for Triumphs and Trials

Your supply chain may be disrupted by outside/uncontrollable factors

2020’s global pandemic has gone a long way to prove there is no such thing as over-preparing. Living within a globalized world, it’s only expected that your supply chain may be disrupted by outside/uncontrollable factors, good and bad, such as:

  • Sudden demand of any particular product
  • Shrinking workforces and rising labor costs
  • Running out of storage space
  • Miscalculations in inventory counting
  • Discontinuing materials

By tracking your inventory’s movement concerning demand, you can better prepare for chaotic moments. Zebra’s MotionWorks software helps deliver a birds-eye view of your moving inventory onto your handheld, so you have everything you need to make informed decisions on the fly.

3. Cycle Counting and Spot Checking

MC2200 Cycle Counting

Zebra’s all-new MC2200/MC2700 mobile computer as the next evolution of streamlined data capture

Regular inventory audits provide dependable certainty that your reported stocks match what’s logged in your WMS; however, this manual process takes a long time when done all at once. Automated cycle counting procedures such as the ones supported by Zebra’s TC52 help you conduct accurate audits without stalling productivity. Another option to consider is Zebra’s all-new MC2200/MC2700 mobile computer as the next evolution of streamlined data capture and intelligent ergonomics.

4. Standardize Your Identification Process

RFID Labels Standardize your Identification Process

When inventory arrives at the warehouse, it must be readily verified and labeled

When inventory arrives at the warehouse, it must be readily verified and labeled; however, as the stock moves around the warehouse, it may need to be relabeled and information may be lost from label to label. By simplifying your labeling process, you can prevent data entry errors and constant reprinting, which wears down printheads and wastes printing supplies.

To streamline label information while diminishing supply costs, RFID labels aggregate as much as 40 identifiers in one tag, simplifying data capture from receiving to shipping.

Another way to simplify standardization is to make sure your operating system is up to date and user-friendly. To accomplish this, Avalon recommends Android’s intuitive platform as it’s been shown to accelerate onboarding and protect data from unauthorized access.

Listen to our newest podcast to learn more about the benefits of Android.

5. Prioritize Inventory

Prioritize Inventory

Labeling is crucial in this factor since barcodes house essential information

This is perhaps the most important of all initiatives you can take. By tracking incoming inventory and current shelved stock, you are able to line up inventory and sell older products first before it loses its value or is no longer sellable.

Accurate labeling is crucial in this factor since barcodes house essential information -such as expiration dates, storage requirements, and delivery dates- throughout your stock’s journey. Quality labels can help make sure you always know which product is on your priority list. To boost labeling efficiency, Avalon has continuously recommended Zebra Certified Consumables due to its rugged adhesive and coating strength.

When it comes to enhancing your inventory management system, every small detail counts. For more simple cost-effective ways to maximize operational efficiency, contact our automation experts here.

Facing an increase of demands for seamless real-time tracking, many businesses are being forced to revisit their tracking systems in search of improvements. As a result, Avalon Integration has made it a priority to make sure our clients understand the differences between the top tracking technologies within today’s markets: RFID and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). 

Download the Warehouse Vision Study

Click here to download the Warehouse Vision Study

Last year’s Zebra’s Warehousing Vision Study estimated over a third of surveyed warehouses will invest in RFID and locationing technologies by 2024. From optimized picking to verified packing, to real-time inventory management, RFID and BLE serve as more than mere tracking systems as they both give you contextual intelligence to restructure operations based on trends and available resources. While they are both similar and useful, several key differences must be understood before choosing your next locationing system.

What will you need?

Zebra RFID Devices

Avalon and Zebra can help you deploy a complete RFID locationing system

Although both solutions can be customized to fit specialized needs, they both have set requirements when it comes to hardware. To deploy a complete RFID locationing system, you’ll need:

  • An Antennae – Your RFID antennae will connect the reader’s signal to the tags. Needless to say, damaged or subpar antennas can damage the whole operation as they can “lose” signals.
  • A Reader – Capturing up to 1000 codes with one trigger pull, your reader can be customized to match frequency type, delivering 99.99% accurate scans in less time than conventional barcoding.
  • Your choice of an active or passive tag – While RFID is significantly more expensive than other locationing systems, it provides greater flexibility in tagging options. Passive tags are more cost-effective since they don’t have any integrated power sources and can reach up to 82ft in the reading range. Active tags can track high-value assets more accurately with embedded power within the tag, covering a range of up to 328ft.

On the flip side, a BLE solution requires:

  • A BLE tag – These tags contain their own power source, which requires less energy from your operations. Tags generally communicate within ranges as high as 20ft.
  • A Reader – Because Bluetooth technology was developed within the same era as most smart devices, many consumer phones and technologies have Bluetooth capabilities and can serve as readers, reducing hardware costs. However, when it comes to securing reliable device performance in harsher environments, Avalon recommends pairing your BLE tags with enterprise-grade hardware instead.

How will your system communicate?

Complete RFID Tracking System

RFID tags communicate via radio-frequency waves with the antennae

RFID tags communicate via radio-frequency waves with the antennae, pinpointing tag location for real-time tracking. Your reader is then able to digest scanned information and transpose it onto your inventory management interface. This communication pattern empowers workers to:

  • Eliminate manual data entry 
  • Accelerate scanning without requiring line of sight
  • Integrate long-distance data capture

Bluetooth locationing differs from RFID in allowing tags to communicate with each other, eliminating complicated networks and wasteful energy. Readers can sense nearby Bluetooth beacons, providing real-time tracking without constant scanning along with:

  • Easiest implementation
  • Trackable users and assets 
  • Smaller power drain

BLE provides a simplified way to integrate real-time visibility into your operations, while RFID serves as a scalable and adaptable tracking system. Nevertheless, there are many other tracking choices you may want to consider.

Final Considerations

Warehouse Employee Scanning with RFID

Whether you choose an RFID or BLE tracking system, both methods will require an interface to collect and display your data. Once again, this is where consumer-grade devices are unsuitable since they would add extra weight to workers who already carry other enterprise-grade devices. To maximize worker comfort and device performance, modernized tracking solutions are tailored to fit into your mobile computer. As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon provides intelligent Zebra mobile computers that accommodate both BLE and RFID tracking systems onto a user-friendly Android system. To see how your mobile device can fit into an optimized tracking solution, contact us here.

Although there are still roughly three months left in the year, e-commerce has already broken industry records and is expected to bring over $4.2 trillion dollars in revenue by the end of the year. As more customers order online, new/fluctuating health guidelines have also resurged alongside the demand for faster service. In the middle of these changes, RFID technology has risen as a modernized solution when it comes to delivering accurate and fast service. As a matter of fact, 41% of decision-makers cite RFID as the best option to improve food traceability, yet only 31% of them currently use it. Unlike previous systems, RFID technology improves inventory management with:

  • Serialized labeling that eases tracking for SKUs
  • Readers that capture more than one code at a time
  • No line of sight required, accelerating order processing

As leaders in modernized efficiency, Avalon Integration investigates the benefits of RFID tracking as it expands operational visibility within your inventory management system.

99.99% Visibility is just the beginning.

As noted earlier, today’s complex operations require dependable visibility in order to properly manage operations. In addition to preventing out-of-stocks and lost assets, RFID tracking can help…

Establish better customer service

Establish better Customer Service

RFID systems reduce delays during production

By locating inventory quickly in real-time, RFID systems reduce delays during production and fulfillment. Consequently, your workforce is better equipped to meet tighter deadlines for faster delivery. 

Moreover, because RFID readers can capture multiple codes at once, they can verify orders and products before they leave the shipping dock, eliminating errors that could drive customers away. 

Lastly, because today’s customers expect to be able to track their orders in real-time, comprehensive solutions such as Zebra’s RFID technologies enhance your competitive edge by connecting order status to your management system, so your customers can get the most up to date insight on their purchase.

Target previously hidden costs draining operations

Target Previously Hidden Costs Draining Operations

Greater visibility allows you to notice areas needing improvement

Greater visibility allows you to notice areas needing improvement such as inefficient storage spaces. By optimizing storage, organizations can expand picking capacity by as much as 30% without adding to worker stress. Visibility solutions such as Zebra’s MotionWorks use RFID to safeguard ROI by:

  • Managing on-the-move inventory in real-time to avoid misplacements
  • Decreasing inventory costs associated with over-stocking
  • Verify inventory is meeting compliance requirements throughout the supply chain process

Collect predictive analytics

Collect Predictive Analytics

An efficient RFID system is capable of collecting actionable data

The 2020 holiday rush may just be another factor due to driving the need for visibility. An efficient RFID system is capable of collecting actionable data based on current workflows and past demands to deliver crucial analytics to help you prepare for future challenges. 

Efficient insight leads to reliable foresight. Whether you choose to continue enhancing operations with conventional labels or RFID technologies, Avalon recommends securing label efficiency with Zebra Certified Consumables. Designed to perform flawlessly in the most arduous environments, Zebra labels and RFID tags can help you meet any of the outlined goals while adapting to your unique needs. 

To see whether your operations could benefit from a new tracking system, contact Avalon’s labeling specialists here.

As we approach the end of the year and 2020’s peak season, Avalon Integration has begun to dive into the key traits that make up efficient inventory management and streamlined workflows. After dealing with an unimaginable yearly increase in online purchases over the year, retailers, e-tailers, and warehouses have cited several common pain points, including:

  • Crashing order sites
  • Fast-draining inventory
  • Surprise out-of-stocks
  • Unavailable delivery for non-essential items
  • Delayed shipment due to overworked 3PL services
  • Spoiled inventory lost in different steps of the supply chain

Despite the effects, COVID-19 brought upon supply chains worldwide, Salesforce researchers estimate in-store services such as curbside pickup and click-and-collect will see a 90% increase as over a third of holiday shopping will be conducted online. Since omnichannel shopping already makes up almost 20% of purchases in the U.S., organizations must stay ahead of inventory management by increasing identification efficiency, communication, and predictive analytics.

Increasing Identification Efficiency

Increasing Identification Efficiency

Zebra Certified Consumables that deliver

Today’s product variety has placed a greater demand for efficient on-the-go identification to avoid order inaccuracy. That means your labels must be strong enough to retain information from the door to dock to the shelf to the customer. Underperforming labels can slow down productivity by falling off, fading away, or scratching printheads. Constant label reprints can add up financially in the long run while also causing bottlenecks. 

To avoid these pitfalls, Avalon continues to recommend Zebra Certified Consumables to bolster label efficiency. Built with pretested materials, Zebra’s labels eliminate the effects of subpar labels by delivering barcodes that:

  • Survive in extreme temperatures and humidity
  • Remain sticky in and out of the warehouse for continuous identification
  • Consolidate identification information with RFID technology for lower TCO
  • Eliminates residual adhesive and debris that can damage printheads

Increasing Communication

Increasing Communication with the MC9300

The MC9300 goes the extra step for streamlining data entry

Researchers suggest that out-of-stocks may be more damaging than lost sales since it impacts brand identity in the long run. To keep inventory levels from dwindling too quickly, several organizations have invested in real-time connectivity within the supply chain. This also helps minimize the shipment costs spent on quick replenishment and storage.

Modernized warehousing has given room to next-generation mobile computing, which can assist in diffusing crucial information throughout your workforce via WiFi in near real-time. Zebra’s mobile computers such as the MC9300 and TC7X go a step farther by streamlining data entry with real-time visibility, so your teams have access to current stock numbers while monitoring:

  • Incoming orders
  • Picking pace
  • Estimated time of delivery
  • Returned shipments

Increasing Predictive Analytics

Increasing Predictive Analytics

RFID Tracking for any warehouse

While the future is always full of change, Avalon Integration works hard in equipping clients with predictive analytics that provide actionable insight into operations, so you can best prepare for change based on current and past trends within your own unique operations. 

Real-time locationing systems such as RFID tracking and Zebra’s Visibility IQ (built with SavannahTM) consolidate several metrics into meaningful digested analytics for easy KPI tracking. A few KPI’s to keep an eye for include:

  • Accuracy of available inventory 
  • Inventory turnover
  • Carrying costs
  • Rate of returns

As a Zebra Premier Solutions Partner, Avalon Integration increases predictive analytics with next-generation locationing technologies. Download our RFID brochure to explore Zebra’s full portfolio.

Avalon RFID Portfolio Brochure Download

If this year has taught us anything, it’s that it is never too early to be prepared. Contact us today to begin assessing your inventory management system for a smoother and more profitable peak season.

Back in 2019, bracketing – otherwise known as the act of buying multiple similar products with the intent of returning them – was estimated to cost businesses up to $550 billion by 2020 as more online retailers move to offer free shipping. Now, while businesses continue to accommodate the surge in online shopping, that estimate can be expected to rise as home shoppers are unable to shop directly in store. 

Moreover, research suggests that four out of ten customers return products bought online. Because returned transactions can cost businesses up to 12$ per parcel, it is highly crucial that supply chains learn to maximize profitability at the face of increasing return rates. Expenditures are further increased when the following responses are taken into account:

  • Products may be stored in the wrong place and lost
  • Products may no longer be usable, ultimately ending up in landfills 
  • Workforce must spend extra time inspecting and refurbishing returned goods 
  • Customers will most likely turn elsewhere to find the product their seeking.

To minimize financial loss and chaos, Avalon Integration recommends revising your inventory management plan to provide your reverse logistics team with maximum visibility from door to dock.

Visibility is King

Warehouse worker in red shirt scanning barcodes

Protect your workflow from sudden influxes with a transparent inventory management system.

Between social distancing limitations and holiday surges, it’s safe to say reverse logistics will not disappear anytime soon. Protecting your workflow from sudden influxes, a transparent inventory management system allows your workforce to accurately track and move products and resources to where they are needed more. A few technologies currently increasing inventory visibility are:

  • RFID Locationing – Tracking moving inventory in real-time, RFID locationing allows you to verify incoming orders, accelerating your sorting and refurbishing process. 
  • Bluetooth Locationing – Serving as a more cost-effective solution compared to RFID technologies, BLE can help define storage zones within your warehouse, ensuring returned goods aren’t lost or misplaced on the wrong shelf. As a result, this also reduces the number of products disposed in landfills. 
  • Color labels – Stringently tested to endure harsh environments, Zebra’s Certified Consumables can maximize visibility by adding color into your labeling system. This allows workers to quickly identify products at a glance and minimize unnecessary labor efforts. 
  • Versatile data capture technology – Paired with either RFID tags or enterprise-grade labels, visibility technologies such as Zebra Rugged Tablets, give you access to your inventory’s status at the palm of your hand while also streamlining other functionalities through one ergonomic and durable device.

When done with the right tools and expertise, maximizing inventory visibility can be both seamless and profitable. To see how these technologies can fit into your workflow, contact our automation experts for a free assessment of your current reverse logistics strategy.

Back in 2019, buy-online pick-up instore (BOPIS) transactions were estimated to comprise less than 4% of grocery purchases. While studies suggested BOPIS would rise steadily within the coming years, nothing could have predicted the 62% spike in online orders resulting from extensive stay-home orders issued nationwide. While many companies were slowly in the process of enhancing their mobile ordering systems, less than a fifth of retailers admitted having necessary metrics to properly manage BOPIS transactions. The result has been strained operations and increasing turnover rates as businesses scramble to create safe frictionless fulfillment operations.

Although there are several technologies available to enhance BOPIS operations, Avalon investigates the most seamless and intuitive solutions to protect continuous productivity as well as employee safety and customer satisfaction. Working alongside leading manufacturers like Zebra Technologies, we analyze the core aspects to consider when creating a frictionless BOPIS system.

Staying ahead of Change

Staying Ahead of Change with BOPIS

Staying Ahead of Change with BOPIS

To design a frictionless BOPIS operation, there are several factors to consider. While numerous technologies may play a part in streamlining order fulfillment, your solution should prioritize the following:

  • Communication – Accurate picking heavily depends on reliable communication amongst the entire supply chain, from stocking teams to the end-client. While out-of-stocks can direct your customers to shop elsewhere, poor inventory team communication slows down associates assembling the order, leading to increased worker stress and picking errors. To streamline communication and data capture, Zebra’s TC7X and TC5X mobile computers utilize long-range connectivity and WiFi to keep teams connected through one easy-to-use Android device.
  • Processing Speed – Because of high demand, even the best click-and-collect services can’t offer immediate order fulfillment, yet newer intelligent scanning technologies such as the MC9300 and Zebra’s SimulScan can help drive down wait times by capturing barcodes in virtually any condition, erasing the need for secondary scans.
  • Inventory Visibility –  Needless to say, proper inventory management continues to be a crucial necessity in delivering optimal customer experience. One way to retain optimal identification throughout the supply chain is through quality identification labels. Zebra’s Certified Consumables are designed to meet FDA standards as well as any other specific compliance requirements all while performing in a wide variety of environments. See how Zebra labels are already enhancing BOPIS order identification in our brochure.

For over two decades, our experts have been committed to strengthening operations by providing efficient solutions that empower you to stay ahead of change. Contact us today for a free remote assessment of your current workflow to see how you can maximize any of these factors and more within your BOPIS operations.

RFID growth has been quite strong over the past few years, especially in the apparel sector.

Outside of apparel, the 4 most common use cases for RFID that we see are:

Asset inventory

An RFID Scanner can help with Asset Inventory

An RFID Scanner can help with Asset Inventory

Putting an RFID tag on high-value assets, rather than just a barcode, adds very little expense upfront, but it can dramatically reduce the time required to take inventory later. Because you tend to only need a few handheld readers for that inventory, the upfront cost is low, making the ROI on this sort of project very attractive.

Consumable inventory

Consumable Inventory

Consumable Inventory is easy for any warehouse

Think things like prescription drugs in an ambulance, or chemicals in a research facility. Then inventories are being taken daily, weekly, or monthly, counting via RFID or barcode is an obvious win, rather than (perish the thought) pencil and paper.

Production reporting

With RFID production reporting is easy

With RFID production reporting is easy

It is shockingly common within our customer base that manufacturing reports that they produced X pallets, but the warehouse can only account for X – 5. Where did they go? We’ll probably never know. With RFID, this is an easy problem to solve. When manufacturing labels the pallet with an RFID tag rather than just a barcode, it is easy to read and track when it passes through the door to the warehouse without any human action required. This can completely eliminate the question of how many pallets actually got produced and stored. And, if you know the “right” answer, you can go figure out who did what wrong to make your other systems not agree.

Warehouse inventory “missing”

RFID can help keep track of your warehouse inventory

RFID can help keep track of your warehouse inventory

Similar to the case above, it is often the case that pallets are produced, stored, and then somehow, later, inexplicably “gone”. If the pallet already has an RFID tag on it from production, it is a simple matter to put a reader at the outbound dock to scan it as it goes through, again without any human action required. Not only will your inventory always be correct, but you’ll also be able to catch when things are going out the door that aren’t supposed to be.

There are many uses for RFID in the warehouse. If you can have any more questions on how to apply the most intelligent locationing technology into your operations, reach out to Dan McCabe to start optimizing your inventory management system.